The Active Care Group was formed in 2019 when 40 care providers were brought together to form a specialist healthcare business across the UK with a focus on complex care. The company is owned by MCM (Montreux Capital Management), a private equity investment fund.
In 2021, Active Care Group acquired the Huntercombe Group, specialists in mental health care, from the administrators of the company Four Seasons.
Last updated: November 2023
The Active Care Group specialises in managing complex conditions and has expanded through company acquisitions. The company is part of the Montreux Healthcare Fund, a private equity investment fund based in the Isle of Man, a tax haven, administered by Montreux Capital Management UK (MCM UK).
In March 2021, Montreux Capital Management UK (MCM) merged The Huntercombe Group (THG) with Montreux Healthcare Fund’s operating asset, The Active Care Group. The deal included 14 freehold properties and added a mental health specialism to The Active Care Group’s learning disability and neurological care services.
The Huntercombe Group had 11 specialist hospitals, which increased the Active Group's locations to 58. Huntercombe Group was part of the Four Seasons Health Care Group, the UK’s largest independent elderly and specialist care provider. Four Seasons went into administration.
The Active Care Group covers: residential and supported living; home care; Christchurch Rehabilitation Services; Huntercombe Services; Remeo Respiratory Services; case management; and Jane Lewis Healthcare Recruitment Solutions.
Active Care Group is part of the Montreux Healthcare Fund, an investment fund based in the Isle of Man, and administered by Montreux Capital Management (MCM).
The most recent filing of accounts on Companies House for the operating company, Ruby Holdco Limited (company no: 11157123) reported figures for the 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2022 with a turnover of £230.8 million and a loss of £77.1 million.
The Active Care Group provides complex care services to the NHS, local authorities and insurance companies. The business acquired with Huntercombe Group for mental health services has a number of contracts with the NHS.
Hospitals run by the Active Care Group (previously Huntercombe Group) have received particularly critical reports over many years after inspections by the CQC. An investigation by The Independent and Sky News, reported in October 2022, found that there had been a decade of “systemic abuse” of patients at hospitals owned by The Huntercombe Group (now Active Care). Patients who came forward spoke of being “treated like animals” , with the use of “painful” restraints, being held down for hours by male nurses, being stopped from going outside for months and living in wards with blood-stained walls. They also alleged they were given so much medication they had become “zombies” and were force-fed. As a result of the revelations the DHSC launched an investigation into the allegations of 22 young women who were patients in units run by The Huntercombe Group.
Dr Sylvia Tang who had been the CEO of Huntercombe for some time whilst the abuses were taking place and joined Active Care Group following the merger, resigned in June 2023.
In March 2023 the company decided to close its hospital in Maidenhead, which it had renamed Taplow Manor Hospital, by May 2023. Although this came after a threat by the CQC to close the hospital if it failed to make improvements and due to the Independent/Sky News investigation.
In April 2023, a report in The Independent on sexual offences in childrens mental health services, found that Active Care Group’s Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead with just 59 beds reported more than 1,600 “sexual safety incidents” in four years. The hospital was responsible for more than half of the sex investigations reported in the 209 children’s mental health units across the country. Despite warnings at a rate of more than one a day to the health service since 2019, no action was taken to stop vulnerable NHS patients being sent to the hospital as a result of the 1,643 sexual incident reports.
The Maidenhead hospital had been put into special measures by the CQC in February 2021 after an inspection raised serious concerns over the apparent over-use of medication to sedate patients, among other issues. It has since received further warning notices. However, the HSJ reports that multiple concerns were being raised about the hospital for several years before it was rated ‘inadequate’. In February 2022, the police were called in to investigate the death of a young girl in the Maidenhead hospital and admissions to the hospital were suspended.
In May 2022 the CQC limited Huntercombe to filling just 22 of its 51 beds at the Maidenhead hospital due to the concerns over patient safety. The hospital’s rating has also been suspended by the CQC. The CQC handed the hospital a formal warning due to concerns over failures in the way staff were carrying out observations of vulnerable patients. Five former patients and four parents told HSJ of poor care and practices at the unit between 2016 and 2020. Two of the families raised concerns directly to Huntercombe, as well as NHS England, local authorities and the local community provider, Berkshire Healthcare FT.
In December 2018, an inspection by the CQC of the company’s hospital in Norwich found serious concerns. The CQC took immediate action to protect those using the service, including enforcement action to remove the registration for the hospital. The Huntercombe Group then closed the service and the children and adolescents had to be found places elsewhere.
Earlier issues, include in September 2017, Watcombe Hall, was closed indefinitely after the local NHS hospital raised concerns about the number of young patients being admitted from the unit suffering from malnutrition and dehydration and in 2016, the company’s hospital in Stafford was placed in special measures and told to urgently improve in 24 areas.